Archibald and Swann commit to progressing Baby Loss Certificate Scheme

Date published: 16 April 2024

Finance Minister Dr Caoimhe Archibald has outlined her commitment to working jointly with the Health Minister, Robin Swann to progress the introduction of baby loss certificates for parents who have lost a baby during pregnancy before 24 weeks.

Ministers Swann and Archibald

Under current legislation, the death of a baby is only officially recognised if it occurs after the 24th week of pregnancy.

Speaking after a Private Members’ motion in the assembly the Finance Minister said: “I want to pay tribute to those women and parents, who have gone through the heartache of losing a baby during pregnancy, for shining a light on this issue and for sharing their own stories publicly to encourage change.

“Officials in the General Registration Office, within my Department, will be working with working with colleagues in the Department of Health to consider how a Baby Loss Certificate scheme could be implemented here.

“While a certificate will not reverse or undo the pain which such a loss inflicts on women and families the introduction of a voluntary certificate scheme may in some way help parents to process their loss.

“I am committed to working together with the Health Minister to take this scheme forward.”

Health Minister Robin Swann added: “Losing a baby is an immensely painful experience for any family to have to endure. I am also acutely aware that losing a baby in the early stages of pregnancy without the opportunity to officially document the loss can further compound the grief for some parents.

“Parents and families who very sadly find themselves in this position can be assured that my Department is continuing to engage with counterparts in the Department of Health and Social Care in England on this important matter. The scheme has just recently been introduced there so we are still in the early stages of this process but we are committed to finding a viable solution that will work for Northern Ireland.

“I am grateful to have the Finance Minister’s backing and my officials will work with the Department of Finance on the next steps.”

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